In an ideal world, men and women would be treated fairly and equally in all matters. However,
we do not live in an ideal world, and men and women have not been treated in this way. For
instance, women have been particularly discriminated against in that they have often been
denied basic education, voting rights and even the right to have their own property.
Fortunately, over the last 100 years or so this trend has been largely reversed. Under new
European and North American laws, women now enjoy the same social and political rights as
men do. I say 'under law', as there are still sections of European and American society which
consider a women's place as being in the home; the notion here being that men should go out
to work, while women stay at home to cook, clean and look after the family.
Men and women in the work-place
It is now unlawful for prospective employers to discriminate on grounds of race and gender, by
defining in adverts whether they would prefer a man or women for a job. For example, it is
unlawful to advertise for a female secretary or a male plumber. These jobs are to be advertised,
and prospective employees interviewed, on the basis of ability, not gender.
The ongoing battle for equality
Female infanticide in India and China is still a wide-spread practice. This occurs because the
raising of a girl is seen to be a greater financial burden, and also because women still have a
relatively low status in these countries. In India there are around 930 girls born for every 1000
men. In rural communities’ boys are often more highly valued than girls, because they can work
and do not require a dowry payment in marriage. Women who give birth to a daughter can be
made to feel a real sense of shame in these communities, for the financial burden they have
brought on a family for doing so.
Popular Articles About Gender Inequality
Women dominate in gender-unequal societies
July 21, 2012 | ANI
Women in countries with great gender inequality are more likely than men to support authoritarian
values, according to a new study of 54 countries. The shift away from beliefs in independence and
freedom is the result, social psychologists say, of authoritarianism helping such women cope with a
threatening environment. "If a person is authoritarian, they are more likely to follow what group leaders
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Could you tell us about your play, Between the Lines , considering it marks your debut as a theatre
director? Between the Lines is set in contemporary India and explores the relationship between a lawyer
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the case in the court, their own inequalities...
10 Extreme Examples of Gender Inequality
10-Forbidden from driving
In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to drive, or even ride bikes, and men aren’t allowed to
drive women they’re not closely related to. The kingdom is currently dealing with the dilemma
of how to get 367,000 girls to school on buses that can only be driven by men. The logical
question at this point is this: If no men are allowed to come in contact with schoolgirls, and
women aren’t allowed to drive, who will be driving the school buses? The Ministry of Education
is currently recruiting “Al-Ameen” or trustworthy men for this initiative.
09- Clothing Requirement
In 2001 a militant group called Lashkar-e-Jabar demanded that Muslim women in Kashmir wear
burqas, head to toe garments that cover their clothes, or risk being attacked. Men threw acid in
the faces of two women for not covering up in public. The group also demanded that Hindu and
Sikh women dress so as to identify themselves: they said that Hindu women should wear a
bindi (the traditional colored dot) on their foreheads, and Sikh women should cover their heads
with saffron-colored cloth.
08-Right to divorce
In many countries, while husbands can divorce their spouses easily (often instantaneously
through oral repudiation), wives’ access to divorce is often extremely limited, and they
frequently confront near insurmountable legal and financial obstacles. Essentially, women have
to buy their freedom.
07-Access to education
In many areas of Afghanistan, girls are often taken out of school when they hit puberty. Cultural
factors related to the ‘correctness’ of sending girls to school, reluctance to send girls and boys
to the same school after third grade, as well as the perceived and real security threats related
to girls walking to school and attending classes all contribute to slowing down the enrollment of
girls in schools. Likewise, the enormous lack of female teachers, who are fundamental in a
country where girls cannot be taught by a man after a certain age, is having a negative impact
on girls’ education. While the total number of children enrolled in primary schools is increasing
tremendously, the percentage of female students is not.
06-Right to travel
Husbands in Egypt and Bahrain can file an official complaint at the airport to forbid their wives
from leaving the country for any reason.
05-Victims of violence
Women’s unequal legal rights increase their vulnerability to violence. In many countries in the
region, no specific laws or provisions exist to penalize domestic violence, even though domestic
violence is a widespread problem. Domestic violence is generally considered to be a private
matter outside the state’s jurisdiction. Battered women are told to go home if they attempt to
file a complaint with the police. Few shelters exist to protect women who fear for their lives.
In Bahrain, where family law is not codified, judges have complete power to deny women
custody of their children for the most arbitrary reasons. Bahraini women who have been
courageous enough to expose and challenge these violations in 2003 were sued for slander by
eleven family court judges.
Most countries in the region-with the exception of Iran, Tunisia, Israel, and to a limited extent
Egypt-have permitted only fathers to pass citizenship on to their children. Women married to
non-nationals are denied this fundamental right.
Many countries criminalize adult, consensual sex outside of marriage. In Morocco, women are
much more likely to be charged with having violated penal code prohibitions on sexual relations
outside of marriage than men. Unmarried pregnant women are particularly at risk of
prosecution. The message is clear: the degree of punishment of the perpetrator is determined
by the sexual experience of the victim.
China’s one child policy has heightened the disdain for female infants; abortion, neglect,
abandonment, and infanticide have been known to occur to female infants. The result of such
family planning has been the disparate ratio of 114 males for every 100 females among babies
from birth through children four years of age. Normally, 105 males are naturally born for every
Similarly, the number of girls born and surviving in India is significantly less compared with the
number of boys, due to the disproportionate numbers of female fetuses being aborted and
baby girls deliberately neglected and left to die. The normal ratio of births should be 950 girls
for every 1000 boys, however in some regions the number is as low as 300.
Welfare Programmes and Policies for Women by Government
Of late, women all over the world have been agitating and struggling for their rights and
privileges and initiating women liberation movements to achieve their rightful place in their
respective societies. The United Nations had declared 1975 as International Women Year and
the era 1975-85 as the International Women Decades.
March 8, is observed as Women's Day in our country every year. The South Asian Association
for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) at its convention at Islamabad in 1989 had agreed upon
observing 1990s as the year of the girl child.
Policies and Programmes: A Review
(i) Hostels for Working Women
With the change in the economic structure, more and more women are moving from their
homes in search of employment. One of the major problems for them is lack of suitable
accommodation in a healthy and wholesome
(ii) Women's Training Centres/Institutes for the Re-habilitation of Women in Distress.
Adversities of life arising out of economic, social, psychological and environmental situation
affect women the most. Young and old widows, unmarried mothers and victims of kidnapping
are some of the vulnerable groups affected. With the objective to rehabilitate such women and
their dependent children, a scheme was launched in 1977 to provide vocational training-cum-
employment and residential care so that these women could become economically
(iii) Short-stay Homes for Women and Girls
The Department gives grants-in-aid to voluntary organization to establish and run Short-stay
Homes, to protect and rehabilitate those women who are facing social and moral danger
because of family problems, mental strain, social ostracism, exploitation or any other causes.
(iv) Family Life Institute
The Association for Social Health in India runs the Family Life Institute in Delhi. The major
functions of this institute are counselling services and family life education for the maladjusted
spouses, parents, unmarried youth etc.
(v) Education Work for prevention of Atrocities against Women
Assistance under this Scheme is given to organization working with women for their social
upliftment and betterment and for carrying out education work for the prevention of atrocities
against women through propaganda, publicity and research work.
(vi) Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)
A new omnibus scheme to render support to women's employment in various sectors such as
agriculture, dairying animal husbandry, fisheries, Khadi and Village Industries, handlooms,
handicrafts and sericulture where women are preponderantly engaged in work was formulated
at the beginning of the Seventh Plan.
(vii) Commission of SATI (Prevention) Act, 1987
The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 was passed by Parliament in December 1987 to
provide for the more effective prevention of the commission of Sati and its glorification. (The
Act came into existence when the story of immolation by Roop Kanwar, the 18 year old girl in
1987 not only shocked India but the entire world).
(viii) Other Acts and Amendments of the Government for the Empowerment of Women
(a) Equal Remuneration Act 1976 was passed which provides for (1) the payment of equal
remuneration to men and women workers; (2) prevention of discrimination on the ground of
sex against women in the matter of employment thereto.
(b) Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1955 had been amended by the
Marriage Laws Amendment Act, 1976 to provide for the right of a girl to repudiate before
attaining majority, her marriage as a child whether the marriage has been consummated or not.
(c) The Dowry Prohibition Act was made more stringent.
(d) The Child Marriage Restraint Amendment Act. 1978 rise the age of marriage for girls from 15
to 18 years and for boys from 18 to 21 years.
(e) The Factories (Amendment) Act, 1976, provides for establishment of a Creche where 30
women are employed as against one for every 50 hitherto.
(f) The Maternity Benefits Act 1961 was amended in April 1976 to cover women who do not fall
within the purview of the Employee's State Insurance Act, 1948.
(ix) National Expert Committee on Women Prisoners
An Expert Committee was set up at the National level in May 1986 to enquire into treatment of
women offenders at various stages of the criminal proceedings, facilities available for women in
custody or prison and their eventual rehabilitation.
(x) National Commission on Self Employed Women
This was set up under the Department of Women and Child Development on January 5, 1987
for an all around development of the present status and welfare of women.
(xi) Women's Development Corporations
A scheme to set up women's development corporations in all the States and Union Territories
was formulated during 1986-87, with the objective of providing better employment avenues for
women so that they can become economically independent and self-reliant.
Focusing On India
While there is something to cheer in the developments I have just been discussing, and there is
considerable evidence of a weakened hold of gender disparity in several fields in the
subcontinent, there is also, alas, some evidence of a movement in the contrary direction, at
least in one aspect of gender inequality, namely, natality inequality. This has been brought out
particularly sharply by the early results of the 2001 decennial national Census of India, which
are now available. Early results indicate that even though the overall female to male ratio has
improved slightly for the country as a whole (with a corresponding reduction of the proportion
of "missing women"), the female-male ratio for children has had a substantial decline. For India
as a whole, the female-male ratio of the population under age 6 has fallen from 94.5 girls for
hundred boys in 1991 to 92.7 girls per hundred boys in 2001.
While there has been no such decline in some parts of the country (most notably Kerala), it has
fallen very sharply in others, such as Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra, which are
among the richer Indian States. Taking together all the evidence that exists, it is clear that this
change reflects not a rise in female child mortality, but a fall in female births vis-à-vis male
births, and is almost certainly connected with increased availability and use of gender
determination of foetuses. Fearing that sex-selective abortion might occur in India, the Indian
Parliament banned some years ago the use of sex determination techniques for foetuses,
except when it is a by-product of other
Necessary medical investigation. But it appears that the enforcement of this law has been
comprehensively neglected. This face of gender inequality cannot, therefore, be removed, at
least in the short run, by the enhancement of women's empowerment and agency, since that
agency is itself an integral part of the cause of natality inequality. Policy initiatives have to take
adequate note of the fact that the pattern of gender inequality seems to be shifting in India,
right at this time, from mortality inequality (the female life expectancy at birth is by now two
years higher than male life expectancy in India) to natality inequality. Indeed, there is clear
evidence that traditional routes of changing gender inequality, through using public policy to
influence female education and female economic participation, may not serve as a path to the
removal of natality inequality.
Measures To Solve Gender Inequality
Every problem has its own solution elsewhere or what ever the problem is? Like this
phenomenon this problems has many measures out of which some of the simple one are stated
below (except legislative and judicial Solutions).
1. Changes at District level mechanism: A clear cut administrative should be made available at
the district level for monitoring and reviewing the incidence of inequality against women. This
district level machinery headed by District Magistrate should consist of representatives of
police, prosecution machinery, judiciary and the representatives of prominent individuals of
women’s organizations in the Districts. This committee should review progress of investigation
and prosecution. At least one special cell should be created at the district level for ensuring
better registration and progress of investigation and monitoring of crimes against gender
equality. This special cell should network with community groups and women’s organizations
and help to create an atmosphere in which people would feel encouraged to freely report the
cases of gender injustice. At present, most, non-reporting of the cases is due to lack of
confidence in enforcement machinery.
The reporting of violence against women from the Thana to the district level and from district
level to the state level gets obscured in the overall mass and complexities of the currently
prescribed reporting system. Specific format should be created and implemented for reporting
on gender-related crimes.
2. Changes at State level Mechanism: Similarly, like District level mechanism there should be
State level machinery at the State level in which there should be special entry for those cases
which needs prompt actions. This institution will make a full control over the district level
machinery. So that there should nit be any corruption or fraud with innocent persons.
3. Law of Torts: An area of civil wrong is tort law. Tort law is probably one of the most
underutilised areas of the law with respect to the problem of gender injustice. The torts that
are directly applicable are:
Tort of harassment
Tort of Medical pre- natal test
It means that there can be punishment under tort law also.
4. Sensitization of Criminal Justice system: The police officers, prosecutors, and judges at all
levels of hierarchy need to be exposed to the gender equality education which would enlighten
them on existing assumptions, myths and stereotypes of women and how these can interfere
with fair and equitable administration of justice. Judicial system should comprise of all types of
officers i.e. from judiciary i.e. judges, police officers and which should take immediate action in
5. Family Law: Another of wrong is family law also. In this accused can be punished under
Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Dowry Prohibition Act, 1987 other laws relating to family
disputes. The suit/ case can be filed for domestic violence or any other household wrong.
Although many women still face immense difficulties and pressures in certain sectors of the
global community, their plight is regularly being brought to the attention of the world. Although
women may have far to go to achieve complete equality in all matters (social, political and
religious), the world has changed a lot in the past 100 years. Women have come a long way,
despite the efforts which still need to be made on behalf of them.